Vitti gave on WJCT this morning via the First Coast Connect program (9 to
10 AM). The establishment of single gender classes and schools is an important
topic that we need to hear more about.
about a comment Dr. Vitti made that revealed he has had a nerve struck in
regard to TFA, Teaching For America, that brings new teachers to our schools,
most often to the schools that struggle the most.
said, “We have to get over this idea that there are union teachers and Teach
for America teachers, they’re all teachers, and they all serve our children, we
will have—initially, we do have a lot of teachers who are surplused, our
enrollment is declining as I have been talking about for some time due to
charter enrollment, and this process happens every year … then what happens is—based on the contract
which we have to follow—more veteran teachers are placed in those open
positions throughout the county, and then we hire new teachers . Some of the
new teachers that we hire were Teach for America teachers that work in our
hard-to-staff, traditionally lower-performing schools because unfortunately we
don’t have a line of teachers ready and waiting to teach in our hard-to-staff
schools. So at the end of the year, I do believe we will arrive at a point where
all of our surplused [teachers] are placed and we’ll have to hire some new
teachers, usually again in our hard-to-staff schools, mainly in science and
math on the secondary level.”
email if TFA teachers would receive priority in placement from the surplus
pool. I have edited his response to remove the ums and pauses. The ellipsis
omits his challenge of the number of surplus teachers reported as 700. (You can
listen to the entire half-hour here: http://www.wjct.org/fcc-june-30-2014/)
superintendent’s effort to downplay it, the number of teachers surplused this
year is unprecedented. Understand further that the process of teacher movement
and new appointments has become very disorganized. Very few understand what
process the district is following, HR does not communicate eligibility for
screened posts (Test Chair, Dean, etc.) as it promises, no one has been told if
they are eligible for a transfer, and everyone is shaking their heads saying,
“I’ve never seen it this bad.”
massive free-for-all as teachers take initiative to contact principals about
openings and scramble to find a position. Some principals made some commitments
and had to retract them as HR canceled the transaction because the surplus pool
has to be dealt with first.
Dr. Vitti, it would be this: you have created mistrust between yourself and
teachers on many issues. We are tired of your surveys without end that seem
designed to yield the answers you want, rather than giving us a chance to share
what is on our minds. Give us an open comment box on a survey—let us tell you
what we want you to know—then read, ponder, and respond.
TFA: there is clearly mistrust between career teachers, new teachers who came
with education degrees, and even alternate certification teachers and DCPS on
this issue. The overall question is whether TFA recruits are a privileged class
of teachers or are we treated the same? Specifically, we want to know:
was a heavy surplus of teachers this Spring. Were TFA teachers protected from
surplus or, as some of the most inexperienced teachers, were they surplused
according to seniority like everyone else?
TFA teachers are in the surplus pool, will they be placed first? Or will DCPS
proceed strictly according to seniority?
a RIF (reduction in force) takes place, are TFA teachers subject to RIF? Or
will teachers with more seniority be RIFFed to preserve a place for them?
has entered into a contract to increase the number of TFA teachers it will
accept a minimum of 100 teachers for the next three years. If DCPS does not have 100 positions
available, will DCPS tell TFA sorry, we can’t take them, or will it RIF
existing teachers to make room?
if DCPS doesn’t RIF existing teachers, will TFA applicants be hired before
applicants with a four-year degree from an accredited teaching college?
Clear answers to these questions would put many concerns,
and yes suspicions, to rest.